Lobster Preparation and Buying Lobster
Lobsters have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate. It has been estimated that lobsters live up to 70 years old. In general, lobsters are 25–50 cm (10–20 in) long, and move by slowly walking on the sea floor. However, when they flee, they swim backward quickly by curling and uncurling their abdomen. A speed of 5 m/s (11 mph) has been recorded.
Lobsters are caught using baited, one-way traps with a colour-coded marker buoy to mark cages. Lobster is fished in water between 2 and 900 metres (1 and 500 fathoms), although some lobsters live at 3,700 metres (2,000 fathoms). Cages are of plastic-coated galvanised steel or wood. A lobster fisher may tend as many as 2,000 traps.
Cooks boil or steam live lobsters.
The lobster cooks for seven minutes for the first pound and three minutes for each additional pound. Lobster recipes include Lobster Newberg and Lobster Thermidor. Lobster is used in soup, bisque, lobster rolls, and cappon magro. Lobster meat may be dipped in clarified butter, resulting in a sweetened flavour.
When a lobster is cooked, its shell’s colour will change from blue to orange. The most common way of killing a lobster is by placing it live in boiling water, sometimes after having been placed in a freezer for a period of time. Another method is to split the lobster or sever the body in half lengthwise. Lobsters may also be killed or rendered insensate immediately before boiling by a stab into the brain (pithing), in the belief that this will stop suffering.
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